Item: Last week at the State of Washington Capitol Building, citizens held a protest. The apparent cause is that the Washington Legislature decided to exclude firearms from its visitors’ gallery. The protesters thought that infringed on their Second Amendment rights.
They were brave to take on the State.
Or, maybe they are just a bunch of morons.
Let’s have a show of hands: Who thinks that the protesters did anything at all positive for the promotion of Second Amendment rights?
Come on, don’t be bashful, raise your hands!
Didn't think so.
Oh, I almost forgot to mentioned the very best part: Most of the protesters were armed. And most were carrying weapons openly - revolvers, semi-autos, and the odd AK-47 or two.
I don’t mean to imply that guns in civilian hands is wrong. Quite the contrary. There are good, solid reasons why weapons belong in responsible citizens’ hand. But weapons are just hunks of steel and plastic. They just sit there. They can be put to an evil use, but it takes human interaction to cause problems. Some people are evil, and they are the ones most likely to cause problems. But be it guns, bows, or nuclear weapons, they all need some human activity before they go “Bang,” “Twang,” or “BOOM.”
I'm disinterested in the fact that the Washington Legislature doesn’t want armed people in the visitors” gallery. It’s dull. It’s not even unreasonable. There is a time and a place for everything. Even rights. If you decide to come into No. 3 Equity Court to exercise your sacred First Amendment rights, you will be asked to leave. Or ejected. Po-ta-to, Po-tah-to.
In West Virginia, one cannot take a weapon onto the state capitol grounds. A bill is currently pending which would allow people at the Capitol to leave a weapon locked in their cars. That is thoroughly reasonable. Among other things, I bet some armed people do that anyway.
Nobody can possess a weapon in a courthouse – nor should they. It's a place of conflict. Prisoners are often being moved.
Schools are generally a really stupid place to be armed. Some parents do not teach their children anything about guns. Most kids are just so inquisitive, they have to be kept from guns.
If a business owner bans weapons on his/her premises – which they are allowed to do – then each potential customer can decide whether to patronize that business. That's the American way. Mind you, there are a certain number of people who carry weapons anyway, but those are the sort likely to disrespect a whole lot of other laws. Those are the ones we need to worry about.
The Washington protesters were carrying openly. Carrying a weapon openly is unusual behavior. It tends to cause talk. So do hair colors not a shade that humans have naturally, short-shorts on guys, preaching on a public streets, clowns and lots of other activities. If you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, don’t do strange things.
Many people are uneasy when they know that they are around guns. (I’m not, but if you show me a chainsaw, you’ll see uneasy.) When you meet a uniformed police officer, what do you look at first?
I thought so.
Whether the explanation for carrying a weapon openly is that it’s a power trip, or the feeling that a weapon makes us feel 10 feet tall, or an in-your-face declaration that you’re mad as hell and won’t take it anymore, or even a substitute penis, carrying openly remains truly stupid. And carrying in certain locations is just plain stupid.
Here in West Virginia, lots of folks carry weapons in the woods. But they know enough to put the weapons away or stick them under a shirt when they leave the woods.
The Washington protesters have actually hurt the overall expression of support for Second Amendment rights. By their bizarre behavior, they invite the other citizens to assume that everyone who has any interest in weapons is a nut. This is important. For the present, self-protection using a gun is a personal right. The Supreme Court says that government cannot abridge that right. The decision was a by a vote of 5–4. A Justice leaves, then there is a fine chance that the next decision is also a 5 - 4 -- the other way.
Former Supreme Court Justice Stevens has recently publishes a book which argues for what he sees as six necessary amendments to the Constitution. Some of them has a good bit of merit. (Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, by John Paul Stevens) But he proposes to alter a Second Amendment in a manner that leaves me cold:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms while serving in the militia shall not be infringed.
Right now, a whole lot of people really don’t have a strong view on the subject. When so-called “friends” of the Second Amendment act eccentric, they are driving citizens to conclude against personal self-determination.
I don't have all the answers. Hell, I don't even know all of the questions. But I know that firearms rights are facing plenty of noise is it as is, without misguided “friends” creating more.
Lord, protect me from my friends.